ALEX REYNOLDS: WORKING AS A PHYSICIAN ASSOCIATE WHILE TEACHING THE NEXT GENERATION
Alex Reynolds is a busy Physician Associate (PA) working in Vascular Surgery within an NHS hospital in London. You can also find him at the University of Reading twice a week, where he teaches on our PGDip Physician Associate programme.
The day-to-day role of a physician associate
Alex's day as a PA usually starts with a board round with the consultants, nurses and other members of the medical team to discuss and understand each patient. He then starts his ward round, where he sees each patient and develops their management plans, such as discharging, changing medications or preparing for surgery. But every day is different in the life of a Physician Associate, and from there, Alex's day could include a variety of tasks.
"After the ward round, I start completing jobs, speaking with families and attending emergencies. Some days I go to clinic, where I assess and talk with a variety of patients; sometimes I go to theatres to assist the consultants during their operations; and sometimes I continue my research and auditing work. We usually end the day with an evening board round where we go through each patient to ensure jobs and treatments have been completed."
If you come to study at Reading, you'll learn through relevant and up-to-date clinical case studies - Alex's work provides him with a variety of real scenarios for his students.
"Being able to apply real life work scenarios to my lectures really enhances my teaching. I often give my students anonymised case studies about patients I have seen the day before at the hospital! I don't think it can get more current than that. My clinical role also allows me to give up-to-date careers advice to students."
physician associates and their impact on the nhs
We all know that the NHS is struggling. PAs are helping to combat the increasing strain on the NHS by complementing the health service and the doctors. Once qualified, you could perform 80-90% of the tasks a junior doctor can do. This helps doctors to improve their training and development while giving you the opportunities to develop and improve the care given to patients.
Alex has some advice if you're an aspiring Physician Associate.
"The PA course is two years of hard work, so make sure you are prepared to work into the evenings and weekends to keep up. But it's important to remember that the more work you put in, the more you can give to the patients you care for. I have loved every moment of being a PA and in the years to come, the PA role will only become more important to the NHS."
A huge accomplishment
Although the course is a big commitment, the rewards reaped from qualifying as a Physician Associate make it all worthwhile.
"Qualifying as a PA is my biggest accomplishment so far. The moment I found out I was qualified will remain with me for my career. It is a badge of honour. I often see patients who are in distress and pain, but after I have diagnosed or assisted in operating on them, it's very rewarding seeing someone walk out the door!"
find out more and APPLY FOR THE PHYSICIAN ASSOCIATE POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA
Samantha Bautista was in the very first cohort of Physician Associates at Reading.
You can find out more about the course and how to apply on our course listing page.